Sunday, February 15, 2009

wrapping up

It's late, but I wanted to wrap the weekend up with at least a quick post here. There are moments you realize how valuable the people around you are. There are also moments you realize true friendship holds through tough times and down times. There are also moments you realize how amazing children can be — no matter how difficult they can seem at times. All of these and more occurred to me in the past couple days.

Above and beyond that, I offer this: Perfect Mushrooms. They were part of my sous-chef-ing duties last evening. Cover the bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil. Heat the oil to near steaming and add a handful of pine nuts. Sauté until they are browned. Add sliced mushrooms (button or more exotic varieties; for fun try a mixture). Add healthy amounts of freshly cracked pepper and sea salt and saute for a minute. Add a pinch of tarragon and crushed chili. Sauté two more minutes while stirring vigorously until the mushrooms are just beginning to soften with the oil. Add a half cup of decent red wine and allow to reduce. Taste occasionally and adjust the seasonings as needed — the final flavor should be a perfect balance of sweet and savory.

One more tip: When cooking Swiss Chard, add a splash of balsamic vinegar. It will help balance the flavor of the chard, no matter how you're preparing it.